San Jose State Preview

Sun Devil fans will see a familiar face roaming the visitors sideline again this Saturday. Dick Tomey, former head coach at in-state rival Arizona, makes a return trip to the state as the new skipper for the San Jose State Spartans. Tomey's extensive experience at the collegiate level has helped spur a turnaround, including a post-season appearance last year, the school's first since 1990.

This Saturday will mark Tomey's 300th Division I game as a head coach and arguably the Sun Devils' strongest first-game opponent since the 2002 season.


2006 Record: 9-4
Head Coach: Dick Tomey

Fun Fact: Former ASU lineman, Bradis McGriff, transferred to San Jose State and is penciled in as the starting right tackle for the Spartans.

Last Game: San Jose State defeated the University of New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl, 20-12.


*Projected Starters

QB Adam Tafralis, Sr.
TB Yonus Davis, Sr.
FB James T. Callier, Sr.
TE Jeff Clark, Sr.
LT John Booker, Sr.
LG Ronnie Castillo, So.
C Justin Paysinger, Jr.
RG Isaac Leatiota, RS-Fr.
RT Bradis McGriff, Jr.
WR Jalal Beauchman, So.
WR Kevin Jurovich, Jr.

Quarterback Adam Tafralis is back for his final season in a Spartans uniform. The senior was recently named to the Manning Award watch list after throwing for 2,284 yards last season. Tafralis also had 21 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. While Tafralis is clearly the starter, Tomey mentioned he would also like to play junior reserve Sean Flynn this Saturday.

Yonus Davis leads the San Jose State ground attack. Davis netted 1,007 yards and 6 touchdowns a season ago. Back-up Patrick Perry recently went down with an ACL injury and is in all likelihood done for the season. The Spartans feel they still have some flexibility to spell Davis in the backfield with fullback James T. Callier. The senior can also catch passes out of the backfield. Cameron Island, Donte Collins, and Jacob French are all options as well.

Tafralis will be working with a relatively inexperienced receiving corps this year after some key players have moved on. Tomey has decided to start Jalal Beauchman and Kevin Jurovich but also said he'll use up to 6-7 players. David Richmond, Kyle Flynn, and Terrance Williams were signed from the junior college ranks to help bolster the group. Tight end Jeff Clark caught 8 passes for 85 yards last season.


*Projected Starters

DE Justin Cole, So.
DT Adonis Davis, So.
DT Kalvin Cressel, So.
DE Jarron Gilbert, Jr.
LB Brian Elledge, Jr.
LB Matt Castelo, Sr.
LB Demetrius Jones, Sr.
SS Dominique Hunsucker, So.
FS Joe Bates, Jr.
CB Dwight Lowery, Sr.
CB Christopher Owens, Jr.

Tomey had some glowing remarks for his front four earlier this week, saying "I have never played with a more talented defensive line". A pair of ends lead a formidable pass rush in Justin Cole and Jarron Gilbert. They each had 32 tackles and combined for 9 quarterback sacks last year. Carl Ihenacho is the top reserve with 3 starts as a true freshman in ‘06. Several players will likely see time on the line's interior. Three sophomores, Adonis Davis, Kalvin Cressel, and Justin Willis put up a combined 41 stops a year ago. Jerome Pulu, a senior, is also a candidate for snaps. Simply put, the defensive line should provide a nice litmus test to begin the season for an Arizona State offensive line that allowed 37 sacks last fall.

Matt Castelo anchors a nice group at linebacker for the Spartans. The senior is already on post-season award watch lists after collecting a whopping 165 tackles last season in the middle, tops in the NCAA ranks. Castelo is joined by another senior on the outside, Demetrius Jones, who chipped in 78 tackles in ‘06. Brian Elledge and Ryno Gonzalez combined for 36 stops last season on the other side.

The secondary looks to be an intriguing match up for ASU's passing offense as the Sun Devils are looking to shed last year's woes at wide receiver. Cornerback Dwight Lowery is a preseason Playboy All-American, in addition to being named to many of the major defensive award watch lists for this season. Lowery snagged 9 interceptions and broke-up 7 passes last year. The senior is paired with Christopher Owens, who recorded 4 pass breakups, 35 tackles, and a pair of interceptions in ‘06. Two starters need to be replaced from last year's squad at the safety spots. Dominique Hunsucker and Joe Bates, a junior college transfer, are candidates to fill the spots.


P Waylon Prather, Sr.
PK Jared Strubeck, Jr.

Both specialists return and are post-season honors candidates. Waylon Prather averaged 44 yards per punt last season and downed 19 of his 63 punts inside the 20-yard line. Jared Strubeck, a Lou Groza Award watch list honoree, went 9 for 12 in field goal attempts over last season. The junior connected on 4 of his 5 attempts beyond 40 yards, with his longest from 48 yards out.

Dwight Lowery shared punt return duties last fall behind departed receiver James Jones. The senior averaged 8.4 yards on 5 returns. Running back Jacob French was one of two kick returners used in ‘06. French averaged 16.7 yards per return.

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